Jet disruption on the rise

JET planes trying to beat after-dark landing and take-off deadlines are creating a noisy night-time rush hour in Suffolk's skies.Residents keeping a close watch on the numbers of planes flying over the county believe evening airliners are increasing - and flying lower and being louder.

JET planes trying to beat after-dark landing and take-off deadlines are creating a noisy night-time rush hour in Suffolk's skies.

Residents keeping a close watch on the numbers of planes flying over the county believe evening airliners are increasing - and flying lower and being louder.

Darkness reveals the kaleidoscope of aircraft lights over the area, particularly the Felixstowe peninsula where flightpaths criss-cross in different directions and a range of heights and it is not unusual to see six or seven planes in the sky at once.

Campaigners believe the reason for so many planes in the evening is a rush to get in and out of Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick before the 11.30pm night-time quota deadline kicks in.


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Dick Histed, of the South Suffolk Air Traffic Action Group, said: “I don't think we are seeing more planes but what we are seeing is a rush because of the curfew and the night quota.

“These will be planes trying to get in and out ahead of those restrictions and it will probably be worse on Friday and Sunday nights.

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“Perception is that these are noisier flights because at night everywhere, particularly the countryside, is much quieter.”

Mr Histed said planes were coming over noticeably lower, too - possibly in anticipation of changes to airspace and flightpaths which have been proposed.

“BAA has tried to get rid of the night-time quota but that would be a disaster - it would mean older and noisier cargo planes throughout the nights, which would be very disruptive,” he said.

While SSATAG did not want an increase in flights, there were benefits to people of evening flights rather than in the early hours.

One resident told the Evening Star: “If you drive on the A14 from Newmarket you see very few planes at all until suddenly you reach Ipswich and the Felixstowe area and it is like a kaleidoscope of lights in the sky - why are they all in one place?

“Evening walks are just marred by a constant rumble of jets.”

No-one was available to comment from air space management company NATS to say if there had been a change.

The Department for Transport decides how many flights can fly between 11.30pm and 6am. It has not altered the quotas and recently reiterated its stance that the noisiest types of aircraft may not be scheduled to land or to take off between these times other than in the most exceptional circumstances.

Do you think Suffolk's skies are getting noisier at night? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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